Kingdom of the Cursed by Kerri Maniscalco

Or when an author takes all your criticisms into accounts and delivers a book far better than what you expected.

Themes: fantasy, romance, witches

The synopsis

After selling her soul to become Queen of the Wicked, Emilia travels to the Seven Circles with the enigmatic Prince of Wrath, where she’s introduced to a seductive world of vice.

She vows to do whatever it takes to avenge her beloved sister, Vittoria… even if that means accepting the hand of the Prince of Pride, the king of demons.

The first rule in the court of the Wicked? Trust no one. With back-stabbing princes, luxurious palaces, mysterious party invitations, and conflicting clues about who really killed her twin, Emilia finds herself more alone than ever before. Can she even trust Wrath, her one-time ally in the mortal world… or is he keeping dangerous secrets about his true nature?

Emilia will be tested in every way as she seeks a series of magical objects that will unlock the clues of her past and the answers she craves…

One sister.
Two sinful princes.
Infinite deception with a side of revenge… Welcome to Hell.

The review

If you’ve read my review on Kingdom of the Wicked, you’ll know that its sequel wasn’t really in my top priorities after the disappointment this book had been for me. But since I kept hearing people saying that the second book had nothing to do with the first one, I decided to give it a go.

The first thing I’ll say about this book is that we clearly have a content that is much more mature. Be it for the romance or the world, we are shifting from YA to new adult/adult. Beginning with the world and the magic system, I loved the fact that they were more developed and complex than in the previous book. The author is giving us various tales based on different mythologies and religious references, and Emilia has to confront what she is used to seeing appropriate to the social norms she’s discovering in Hell. We are entering with her a world that is dark and dangerous, full of deception. Each Sin is perfectly represented and each House has its own atmosphere, making us really travel from one realm to another. And we get to know better the different Princes of Hell, who are much more fleshed out this time and epitomise their sins. It was interesting to see their petty actions and the struggles for power occurring in the Houses.

Going on with the characters, Emilia is finally one I don’t mind reading about. She’s not crying over her fate or constantly repeating that she loves her sister. She’s like the fiery character we briefly guessed in Kingdom of the Wicked, using her magic to achieve her goals and playing the game using the rules of Hell. I also fell in love with Wrath, who has much more substance here. I thought the love he has for Emilia is really well crafted since it’s not shown through dialogues (or not mostly) but through his actions. So, we are not going from a mystery plot to a romance one but to a mix of both. I also loved the dialogues between those two (and the ones of Emilia with the other Princes), they made me laugh out loud at times.

Finally, same feeling for the secondary characters. When they were previously just shadows created for the sake of the plot, the ones in Kingdom of the Cursed are well fleshed out and I can’t wait to see more of them in the final book!

In brief: I can’t believe the improvement that occurred between the first book and this one! It’s all I expected from Kingdom of the Wicked and is saving this series for me!

My rating: 5/5

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